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Combine Design Styles, According to HGTV’s “Mash-Up” Experts

Combine Design Styles, According to HGTV’s “Mash-Up” Experts

It’s a tale as old as time: a couple buys a new house or decides to renovate their longtime home, only to realize that they have very different design ideas. The situation is common enough that Christina Valencia and Kele Dobrinski, the couple behind the Sacramento-based creative studio Colossus Mfg., have created a new HGTV television series devoted to helping out style-conflicting homeowners. 

In the show, “Mash-Up Our Home,” the married design team provides guidance for couples with differing styles and tastes, and helps them create a home that both parties can agree on. For those who are looking to mash-up their styles at home and find themselves without expert designers on hand, Valencia and Dobrinski shared some of the secrets to their mash-up empire.

“The way that we go about it is, when we walk through home, we separate the homeowners and we try [to] get as much information from them as we can,” Dobrinski said. “I think it’s a really good starting place.” The key to success is being very straight-forward in your interests initially, even if you know they’re not the same as those of your partner. “I think when you’re in a relationship for a long time you tend to think about ‘we’ a lot. And I think it’s nice to actually start by being selfish and be like, ‘Okay, what do I want in my space?’”

From there, couples can start making a list together of likes and dislikes and see if there’s any crossover or overlapping interests. It’s also helpful to identify what each person absolutely can’t have in their space. It’s important, Dobrinski shared, to look beyond just style and really examine specific materials and colors that might be of shared interest.

Valencia noted that an “unbiased third party” can be especially helpful for couples. “Even if you had a friend over that can be unbiased and be like, ‘How much color do you really need? How much of the rainbow will make you happy?’,” she suggested. “[Having] someone work through that actually could be a really fun happy hour.”